Mind Your Words: Children and young people’s mental health

Mind Your Words is a free online course designed to support those working with children and young people with mental health needs.

About Mind Your Words

Mind Your Words (children and young people’s mental health) is a free e-learning tool designed for professionals working with children and young people.

The tool aims to improve understanding of children and young people who have both mental health needs (or social emotional and mental health needs – SEMH) and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). This is made all the more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as research suggests it has had an effect on everyone’s mental health, including children.

The online training highlights the links between mental health and communication and outlines how professionals can work together to remove communication barriers and help these children and young people achieve their potential.

The course consists of 15 modules, of which the first five apply to all settings. You will need to complete the first five modules, which cover the information we think everyone needs to know to, in order to unlock the other modules. After that you are free to choose which modules you feel are relevant.

Access the tool

The course can be accessed via the RCSLT CPD platform. You do not have to be a member of the RCSLT in order to sign up – you can register on the sign-up page.

It can be completed in any order, at your own pace – the modules will save your progress so you do not have to do it all at once.

The course is completely remote, which:

  • saves learner’s time away from work (which is often hard to arrange).
  • saves learner’s travel costs, compared to attending a face-to-face course.

In addition the RCSLT is delighted to be able to offer it free of charge.

What’s in the e-learning?

Mind Your Words is a series of modules. The first five modules are required, but once you’ve completed these, you can choose as many of the remaining modules as you’d like.

The five core modules explain what speech, language and communication needs are, what social, emotional and mental health needs are, and how to recognise them, as well as how they are interrelated and some general strategies you can put in place.

The remaining modules look in more detail at ways you can support children and young people, including getting support from speech and language therapy, working collaboratively, modifying risk assessment and de-escalation techniques, becoming a communication accessible service and much more.

Visit the RCSLT CPD platform to access the modules.

Module list

  • Module 1: Introduction – Find out what this learning journey will cover, how to use it, and how it was written and created.
  • Module 2: What are SLCN and SEMH? – Find out what speech, language and communication needs are, what social, emotional and mental health needs are, and how to recognise them.
  • Module 3: Risk and resilience – Investigate the benefits of good communication skills on resilience, and the impact of communication difficulties on mental health and skill development.
  • Module 4: What if young people have SLCN and SEMH? – Explore why language skills are necessary for good mental health, and how SLCN can bring additional risks and problems for mental health.
  • Module 5: Universal strategies for SLCN – Find out what universal strategies are and how to use them to support children and young people.
  • Module 6: What speech and language therapy (SLT) can contribute – The role of the speech and language therapist, the settings they work in and sort of work SLTs do, evidence based interventions and the benefits of SLT.
  • Module 7: Collaboration – What is collaboration? Why and how to collaborate? Why doesn’t collaboration always work?
  • Module 8: Identification and assessment of SLCN – Why assess a child or young person’s speech language and communication skills? Who should we assess? Types of assessment used by SLTs, and problems with assessment. Things to notice (indicators of SLCN), and how to include the views of children and young people.
  • Module 9: Becoming a communication accessible setting – Adopting the Communication Access Standards, meeting the 5 Good Communication Standards
  • Module 10: Asking the right questions – Why questions can be problematic for children and young people (CYP) with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). How to make answering questions comfortable and how to ask questions that a child or young person with SLCN can understand and answer.
  • Module 11: Communication in de-escalation and de-briefing – What do stress and conflict do to the brain and communication skills? How can we communicate to help someone feel safe and to calm down? How to help a child or young person develop the language skills to cope in stressful situations.
  • Module 12: SLCN, SEMH and risk assessment – Revision of the general risks of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). Thinking about specific risks for children and young people with SLCN in relation to behaviour that challenges, and how to design a risk assessment including SLCN.
  • Module 13: Developing a service for SLCN and SEMH – A model of interventions in services. What speech and language therapy can contribute. Including the views of children and young people in planning support and ways to help them better engage with support.
  • Module 14: What’s the story? The importance of narratives for mental health – Why is storytelling important? What skills are needed to tell a story? The impact of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) on stories/narratives, and how we can help children and young people develop narrative skills.
  • Module 15: Making interventions accessible – Why do we need to make interventions accessible? How does language make things inaccessible or accessible? Some solutions and examples.

Access the full programme on our CPD platform.

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